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Hi-vis jacket "blended in with the trees" says driver accused of causing the death of cyclist

Cyclist was dragged 35 metres by second motorist after being knocked off by driver’s wing mirror

A driver who knocked a Ceredigion councillor off his bike near Aberystwyth, causing him to be hit and killed by another motorist, says she was momentarily blinded by the sun and did not see him. Both drivers involved in the incident deny causing Paul James’ death by careless driving.

The BBC reports that James was riding uphill towards a bend between Waun Fawr and Comins Cochon on the A487 near Aberystwyth on April 11, 2019, when he was hit by the wing mirror of Lowri Powell’s car.

He fell from his bike and was then hit and dragged 35 metres by Christopher Jones who had been driving behind.

Both drivers told police that glare from the sun meant they had not seen him.

Speaking at Swansea Crown Court, Powell said she had been driving "perfectly carefully" before the incident.

She said she had lowered the car’s sun visor, slowed down and was concentrating on the road ahead.

She said she had done "absolutely nothing wrong" and there had been "nothing she could have done differently."

Jones had been wearing a high-vis jacket. Asked by Jim Davis, prosecuting, how she had failed to see him “right in front of your bonnet,” Powell replied: “The lighting coming through the trees and foliage on the side had created a flickering effect and I believe the high visibility jacket blended in with that.”

Asked whether any motorist driving along that stretch would have knocked James off his bike, she said: “Probably, yes. If there had been any other car in the set of circumstances in front of myself, then yes.”

When interviewed by police, former taxi driver Jones said he had been driving at between 50 and 53 miles per hour when he was dazzled by sunshine.

He took his foot off the accelerator and cut his speed, but did not brake.

He then noticed a hi-vis jacket in front of him and braked.

Responding to questions from his barrister Dyfed Thomas, he said he had “tenths of a second” to react.

Asked by the prosecution whether he could recall seeing Powell’s Ford Galaxy ahead of him on the road before the crash, he said that he couldn’t and perhaps it had already rounded the corner at the brow of the hill.

Asked why he had not seen James, Jones said it could have been because of the glare of the sun and because the cyclist was "underneath the shadowing" of roadside trees and bushes.

He accepted that if he had been driving slower, he would have stood more chance of avoiding James.

Two witnesses gave written statements stating they had seen James cycling minutes before his death and that conditions were good.

Another, who worked with James and who is a neighbour of Powell, said that the sun was bright and described seeing James wobbling before he was hit by Jones.

"He didn't have a chance to brake," she said.

The case continues.

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